South Korea's largest injection molding machine manufacturer will now directly control sales of its machines in the U.S. market, thanks to an acquisition signed April 1.
LS Mtron Ltd. purchased the plastics machinery division of Daiichi Jitsugyo America, which has been selling LS Mtron presses in the United States since 2018. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Peter Gardner, who had been vice president of sales and general manager for DJA, has joined LS Mtron as business director. He said the DJA sales and service team also joined LS Mtron.
"I think it's fantastic," Gardner said in a telephone interview. "Being direct with a manufacturer, I think the support is better. Customers will benefit from faster and more efficient communication, faster response times, and help from the factory if that's needed."
DJA had a team of 10 people based in Wood Dale, Ill., who will be joined by seven people from LS Mtron's U.S. headquarters in Norcross, Ga. LS Mtron also gains the Wood Dale technical service and training facility.
LS Mtron had planned to make the announcement at the NPE2021 trade show in Orlando, Fla., which was canceled because of concerns about COVID-19.
Gardner said the two companies started talking about a deal last year. Because of recent sales growth, he said it was clear that additional resources would be needed for both LS Mtron's Georgia group and DJA's Illinois-based operation.
"It became apparent during our talks that each company would be duplicating some resources, and the most efficient investments could be made if we considered ways to merge our efforts," Gardner said.
Ichiro Uno, president and CEO of Tokyo-based Daiichi Jitsugyo Co. Ltd., said in a letter that DJA needed "more resource allocation" to develop new business. He credited Gardner with suggesting selling the plastics machinery division to LS Mtron.
Uno called the deal "a win-win situation for all involved, including his [Gardner's] staff who could all secure job offerings with LS Mtron."
LS Mtron has manufactured injection presses since 1969, originally under the Lucky Goldstar brand. The name changed to LS Mtron in 2008.
Gardner said the company has seen strong sales in the United States, in part thanks to South Korean automobile and appliance makers setting up U.S. factories.
LS Mtron has the capacity to produce 2,800 units annually. Its lineup of machines include two-platen presses ranging from 550-5,000 tons of clamping force, all-electric machines from 20-950 tons, and servo hydraulic toggle presses from 50-420 tons.
Until 2018, Daiichi Jitsugyo America was known for distributing Japanese-made Niigata all-electric injection presses. DJA and LS Mtron first announced their distribution deal at NPE2018.
DJA had been distributing Niigata machines for more than 37 years, and continued to sell both Niigata and LS Mtron presses until 2019. Combined, LS Mtron, DJA and their other sales channels have sold more than 250 LS Mtron presses in the United States since NPE2018, including more than 120 in 2020, Gardner said.
Prior to NPE2018, the company had sold more than 1,200 presses in North America under the LG and LS Mtron labels, Gardner said.
In a news release, Daesik Jo, the company's sales director in Georgia, said demand for LS Mtron presses is increasing for a variety of reasons.
"Due to global trade tensions, many customers are seeking to diversify their supply chain these days," he said.
"The popularity of Korean products such as Hyundai and Kia automobiles, and high-end appliances and electronics from the likes of Samsung, and LS Mtron's founding company, LG Electronics, has led to a high recognition of Korea as an advanced manufacturing country, and LS Mtron, as one of the global top producers of IMM machine manufacturing,"
Had NPE2021 taken place, LS Mtron would have introduced several new models at the show, including a new vertical press, several hydraulic machines, and a more economical two-platen model, Gardner said.